It's snowing in Calgary and it figures to be just as odd a day in Ottawa. The monumental/frivolous vote is scheduled for 6 o'clock (4 Mountain!!!!) tonight so I'll be updating this post from now until then as events develop over the course of the day.
Today's Globe & Mail likely wasn't bringing as many smiles to Liberals as last week's. It also contained this baffling threat:
The bailiff served Mr.Corbeil a legal letter from Irene Marchettere, Luc Desbiens
and Richard Mimeau, three of eight Liberal officials he identified yesterday as
having received cash for election work. The letter asked him to retract his
allegations within 24 hours.
I know Madame Marchettere's boss has a law degree so perhaps he should offer her some free legal advice. Namely, what is said at a public inquiry, no matter how ridiculous, is protected from libel suits.
-Harper started off by asking questions on the budget and the fiscal imbalance rather than tonight's vote or the Corbeil allegations. All of this tells me that he realizes there's a very good chance the election will be fought over the Liberal budget. According to Don Newman, that vote is now expecting to come Thursday.
-Jack Layton comments that "Canadians are rightly disgusted by this parliament". Layton is really trying to take the high ground and I think it could really pay off. After the disgusting political gamesmanship between Martin and Harper yesterday in Europe and a week of senseless accusations, a lot of Canadians are likely looking for a leader who looks like a grown-up. And, as strange as it sounds, Jack Layton is looking like the most mature of the three quasi-federalist leaders right now.
-I don't watch a lot of Question Period but I have never before seen an opposition member answer a question before. Yet today, Conservative John Williams answered an NDP question about the Public Accounts Committee. Whaaaaaaaaa?
Buzz from the Broooooadcast
-Apparently, two Liberals are away from Ottawa today for the vote, making it a near certainty it will pass. It seems the Liberals are employing the "I wasn't really trying" strategy I always use when I lose at Monopoly.
-That said, it will still be interesting to watch the vote for one reason: David Kilgour's vote. While the Conservatives don't need it today, they may very well need it for a "real" confidence vote later on. This should finally tilt his hand as to how he's voting.
153-150: Kilgour sheepishly votes with the government but two Ministers and Cadman are away from the house.
-I think it would have been wise of the opposition to bring some scrap paper and to throw it in the air after the vote for effect.
-Let the spin war begin!
The Spin War
-Good grief. Blogger shuts down right after the vote. They did the same thing right after the Brault testimony was released. I swear it’s a conspiracy.
-I think Harper played it right by rising after the vote and saying that if the government didn't consider this a matter of confidence they need to immediately get the confidence of the House. The motion brought forward was probably not a confidence motion but it was a huge sign that the government has lost the confidence of the House. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask the Government to test the confidence of the House. People are making comparisons to Stanfield in '68 when a money bill was defeated and in that situation, the Liberals asked for (and received) the House's confidence the very next day.
-Given that, the Liberals need to get the budget voted on as soon as possible. Asking the House to wait three weeks is just not credible at this juncture. Testing the confidence of the House later this week with a Thursday budget vote would likely be a fair response.
-"From dithering to desperate to dangerous" Strong words from Stephen Harper.
-Ducceppe calls a House boycott "bad politics". Safe to say we won't see that, although I'm sure there will be some very loud protests by the Bloc and the Conservatives in the near future.
-It will be very interesting to see what the NDP has to say. There have been several NDP members who have said they regard this as a confidence vote.
-Gilles Ducceppe had a funny line regarding the NDPs support: "I've always said a successful NDPer is a Liberal". heh heh.
-I already mentioned it before but it bears repeating: David Kilgour voted with the Liberals. Do the math…